The Iberian presa is one of the most truly delicious cuts of pork. However, preparation is important in order to fully bring out its unique flavour. This very select cut is characterised by its versatility and can even be eaten raw, in tartar or carpaccio! Yet one of the most exquisite ways of preparing pork is by grilling.
Want more info on presa? Check out our Ultimate Guide: How to Cook Presa Ibérica.
Why should you eat presa iberica?
In recent years, many cuts of Iberian pork that used to be reserved for restaurants or making sausages have become more commonplace. Nowadays it is much easier to find cuts such as presa, pluma or lagarto in butchers’ shops. They are unique cuts with an unbeatable texture!
Presa, like the lizard or pluma, generally used to go unnoticed by the general public. These cuts, therefore, have traditionally been hard to find. Only two presa weighing between 500 and 600 grams can be extracted from each Iberian specimen. Consequently, this limits the availability of this cut on the market. Be careful if you are going to buy a presa, as it is often confused with the pluma.
What is the difference between the pluma and presa? To begin with, while both have a very similar shape (triangular), their weight is very different. The presa weighs half a kilo, while the pluma weighs only 100 grams. Moreover, only one pluma can be extracted from each pig, as opposed to two presas.
The Iberian presa is a truly exquisite cut of meat. It has a fine, soft and tender texture. Its flavour is very intense and distinctive. Like all cuts of Iberian pork, the presa is characterised by its high nutritional value. It has numerous minerals and vitamins from the B group (6 and 12), as well as acids similar to those found in olive oil. It is an ideal cut for both people who want to follow a high-protein diet and for those who are looking for a low-calorie one. In addition, this food is good for combating cardiovascular diseases as well as reducing bad cholesterol in the blood.
These unique qualities of the presa are due to the fact that Iberian pigs are fed on acorns for a large part of their lives. In addition, as they are raised in semi-freedom, they can run around the dehesa. This physical exercise results in cuts with a fine balance of fat and lean. If you are going to buy presa, take a good look at the butcher's cuts to see what you are buying beforehand. Iberian pork is characterised by its reddish meat, while traditional pork has pale or white meat.
How to prepare presa de cerdo
There are many ways to prepare Iberian pork. You can grill or pan-fry it and it won't take that long. It is also possible to bake it in the oven, for which it will be necessary to put the whole cut in the oven and cook it over a medium heat. It can even be eaten as tartar or carpaccio! It is also possible to eat the presa raw, as this type of meat follows strict sanitary controls. However, you must be very careful with the defrosting process to avoid contamination of the meat.
This said, one of the best ways to prepare this delicious cut of Iberian pork is to grill it. Follow these tips below on how to grill a presa iberica.
Grilled Iberian pork presa recipe
- One Iberian presa of pork.
- Coarse salt.
- Freshly ground black pepper.
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Grill or cooking spray.
- First take the meat out of the fridge and leave it at room temperature for two hours before cooking. This way, the meat will not be raw on the inside.
- Grilled pork can be grilled whole or cut into steaks, it all depends on the time you have available for cooking. If you decide to make it into steaks, then you need them to be more or less the same size to ensure that the cooking time is even.
- If you have decided to prepare the meat whole, you will need to sear it in the pan beforehand. To do this, heat a little oil in the pan and sear the meat for one minute on each side.
- Preheat the grill with the lid closed.
- When the grill is hot, spray the grill grate with cooking oil. This will prevent the meat from sticking.
- It is recommended that the cut is placed in an indirect heat source. This can be achieved by placing a tray underneath the grill. This is so that the meat is cooked with indirect heat, but it will also release the cooking juices into the tray. If you do not have a grill pan, then place the meat at one end of the grill or at a point where the heat is not so intense.
- Once you have placed the meat, season with salt and pepper. If you like your meat very juicy you could consider adding a very small drizzle of olive oil. If you want to experiment with flavours, feel free to sprinkle on some aromatic herbs such as rosemary, parsley or basil.
- Cover the grill.
- The cooking time not only depends on how well done you like your meat, but also on whether you are cooking the meat whole or in steaks. Steaks will not need more than three or four minutes on each side. If you have cooked the entire cut, the cooking time per side will however increase by a couple of minutes.
- When handling and turning the meat, be sure to use tongs or a spatula. Never prick the meat with a fork, as you don't want to lose the important juices.
- When the meat is ready, remove from the heat and serve with the accompaniment of your choice.